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EU finally agrees to stop bad biofuels after 2020

The European Parliament has given its final approval to a law capping the use of land-based biofuels in transport. The reform, which aims to be a check on the growing consumption of biofuels that increase carbon emissions compared to conventional diesel and petrol due to ILUC emissions, has been passed after seven years of public debate and tense negotiations between the European Commission, MEPs and EU member states.

New ship designs less fuel-efficient than those built in 1990

New ships are on average less fuel-efficient than those built in 1990, according to the first ever study of the historical development of the design efficiency of new ships. A second study also found many recently-constructed ships already meet the International Maritime Organisation’s design efficiency standard for 2020 (EEDI), which is up for review when the IMO meets next week. Both documents suggest that more stringent efficiency standards are within reach.

Biomass ‘zero’ rating sees up to 150m tonnes CO2 escape ETS

Between 90 and 150 million tonnes of CO2 resulting from burning biomass with no climate safeguards are labelled carbon neutral in Europe, according to a new study. This costs EU governments €630m-€1 billion a year in foregone revenue from the emissions trading system (ETS) because such emissions do not require carbon permits and thus industry does not have to surrender allowances for burning biomass.

German environment agency suggests list to allay concerns about TTIP

Germany’s environment agency UBA has expressed serious concern that the EU’s position on the emerging Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal could weaken environmental protection standards in Europe. The UBA is also suggesting that any TTIP agreement should include a list of areas where cooperation on environmental standards would benefit both America and Europe.

Rail tunnel financing saves congestion charge in Gothenburg

The city council in Gothenburg has decided to keep the city’s congestion charge despite the result of a referendum held last September that called for its abolition. The decision to maintain the charge was taken in order to protect funding for a new rail tunnel under the city centre.

T&E’s next 25 years will spark Europe’s electric shift

As many of you know, T&E will mark its 25th anniversary with a celebratory exhibition and debate at Brussels’ Royal Museums of Art & History on 26 March and you are all invited. But now I have the daunting task of writing an editorial worthy of the occasion. How do you summarise 25 years in 700 words? Here we go.

Electro-mobility and alternative fuels central to ‘energy union’ agenda

Further decarbonisation of transport through a shift to alternative fuels and electro-mobility forms a major part of the European Commission’s strategy for an ‘energy union’, unveiled last week. With transport being responsible for more than 30% of EU energy consumption and a quarter of emissions, the Commission said legislation on ‘decarbonising the transport sector, including an action plan on alternative fuels’ would be put forward in 2017.

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